UX with 6-Packs, 4-Packs and The Can

Ever since watching Leah Buley’s brilliant talk at SXSW about being a UX team of one I’ve been obsessed with what she calls the 6-up.

The 6-up is a single piece of A3 paper with 6 browser window’s printed on it. The goal is to get you sketching your ideas right away, rather than bogging yourself down with feature lists and Photoshop files like you normally would. It also reinforces her principle of having “six ideas rather than one,” something I’m a firm believer in.

While using the 6-up during my work on VoucherCodes.co.uk I’ve come across a few changes - and a few additions - that have really helped me. I thought I’d share them here.

Leah’s 6-up includes a notes section. I completely understand the rationale behind this but I’ve found it to be superfluous. While sketching with the 6-up it’s felt natural to just add comments around the sketch, rather than using a designated space to the right. If you remove the notes section, and add more negative space around each browser window, you’ll find you have a lot more freedom to work.

There is also times when 6 windows doesn’t allow for enough detail. The 1-up, as Leah calls it, is a great solution to this. However a 1-up can be made even more useful by moving it from a piece of A3 to a piece of a A4. The reason? Most companies, particularly startups, are unlikely to own an A3 printer. Transferring the 1-up to a piece of A4 gives you a good amount of space, the flexibility to print them more often, and it does it all for a lower cost.

For exactly the same reasons I introduced a 4-up. This gives you the opportunity to play with multiple ideas, while keeping those A3 printing costs down.

The last thing I did was change the name. 6-up, 4-up and 1-up just didn’t sit well with me. Yes, I loved the retro gaming motif, but I needed to give it my own slant. So in our office we refer to them as; The 6-pack, The 4-pack and The Can. Evidence of a British booze culture? Maybe.

Feel free to download my versions using the links below. In fact, feel free to change them, criticise them and ignore them as you see fit.

  • The 6-pack (pdf)
  • The 4-pack (pdf)
  • The Can (pdf)

Last of all I need to thank a ton of people for the brilliant work they’ve done before me. That includes: Leah and Brandon from Adaptive Path and apirak for his Omnigraffle Mac OS X Sketch Stencils.

Daniel Bower

Blogging about platform regulation: algorithms, interoperability, kill zones as well as other bits and bobs. Read about my research, or read more about me.